Once construction is complete, bicycling or walking across Green Springs Highway (Oregon 66) Bridge at Interstate 5 exit 14 will be a lot easier than it is today. The exit 14 overpass will receive dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facilities because it is located in a congested area, with development on either side of the freeway. Safely accommodating the movement of bicyclists and pedestrians there is a priority for ODOT and the City of Ashland.
The diagram on page 17 illustrates the new design for the overpass. Approaching the interchange from downtown Ashland on Ashland Street from the west, new 5’ bike lanes and 7’ sidewalks on the interchange approaches will connect to existing city facilities. On the bridge itself, the bike lanes widen to 8’, which is wider than the standard. The bike lanes will be 6’ wide on the east side of the interchange. The facilities are basically the same as you approach the interchange from the east on Green Springs Highway. The only real difference is that a new dedicated right turn lane will be constructed for vehicles turning northbound onto I-5. Cyclists approaching from the east will continue in the bike lane heading straight across the overpass.
Vehicles heading southbound onto I-5 at exit 14 present a potential hazard to cyclists heading east, where the traffic crosses the bike lane at the entrance to the on-ramp. To address this, ODOT will install a bike signal that is activated by a detector loop, similar to the way traffic signals operate. The bike signal will allow cyclists to cross the entrance to the freeway before vehicles are allowed to turn into the southbound on-ramp. Examples of a similar bike signal are shown on pages 17 and 18.
Bike signals are an emerging transportation technology still relatively new to Oregon. Ashland will be among the first communities to receive one.
“We are pleased to be able to accommodate the City’s request for additional bicycle safety features at exit 14,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson.
Oregon Transportation Investment Act
The $1.3 billion Oregon Transportation Investment Act (OTIA) III repairs and replaces hundreds of bridges across the state to ensure the unrestricted movement of freight and spur economic growth.
Between 2009 and 2011, the bridge program expects to sustain an average of more than 2,600 jobs per year before dropping to about 1,100 jobs per year in 2012. Overall, the 10-year bridge program will sustain an annual average of approximately 2,300 jobs.